Opinion: Politics has divided the Ole Miss student body

Elexis in the Grove Photo by Sydney Jackson.
Elexis in the Grove Photo by Sydney Jackson.

Elexis Craft
Oxford Stories

I am concerned about the idea of my children one day attending Ole Miss, because diversity no longer exists. Today, politics has divided the student body, and you are either on the right or left politically and socially. 

As children, we are taught that having differences and opinions is OK, but we are often not taught the proper way to disagree with someone. Today, it can turn into a spiteful argument.

Sometimes, I call my mom to talk to her about the latest protest happening on campus. She calls me if she reads an article about a professor giving their political opinion to a class. We both feel like it is the duty of a professor to teach and keep politics out of the subject, if possible.

My mom and I also agree that there is a median between the so called right and left happening in the U.S.

I am a Republican, but that does not mean I am the most supportive voter for the party who lives and breathes all of their views. I try to stay out of it all at this point because I feel like no one can share an opinion without being scolded for it in some form. 

Being a student in the South, you hear about other schools and talk to students there through the grapevine. Some now consider Ole Miss the liberal school and Mississippi State University the conservative school. 

Some of Ole Miss’ own alumni have turned against the school. If alumni memberships decrease, I believe it will hurt Ole Miss in the long run. Is the way Ole Miss is handling some of these issues part of the problem?

As a student, I personally never thought I would experience protests on campus. I never thought I would actually be embarrassed to sometimes tell people I attend Ole Miss considering some of the events that have happened recently. I tell my mother that most students make a joke out of the protests, but the recent one has hung over us as a student body. 

The video of a student screaming about the newly hired chancellor and getting dragged out by an officer still replays in my mind. I remember how shocked my mom was, and I was in a state where I accepted that is just normal at Ole Miss now. It is casual for me to walk out of a building into a protest about something creating drama on campus. Bringing awareness to a subject you care about does not mean that screaming in people’s faces is acceptable.

Freshman year, my roommate was and is one of the biggest liberals I have ever met. Did we get along? Absolutely, and we never once let political differences get in the way of our friendship. We sometimes sat down late at night and talked about how she hated Trump, and how I am a fan, but I am not afraid to admit that how he handles situations can be extreme.

My coworker is still one of the nicest people I have met in Oxford. We both know what it is like to be the new kid in a state that is the complete opposite of home. She is one of my most liberal friends. Bernie Sanders bumper sticker and all, she is a great person all around. Once again, we do not let politics get in the way and still keep in touch. 

Sometimes, alumni look to students to stand up to other students, but it cannot work like that. The conservative students at Ole Miss are not confrontational like the liberals. I find myself avoiding confrontational situations daily at school. I also believe many students here float more in the middle with their political views.

My teacher often asks for our opinions about certain news stories, and not many people speak up about how they view certain subjects. I think many women I surround myself with are actually OK with abortion under certain circumstances. On the other hand, they might not be OK with other things like how to deal with climate change in today’s world. 

The one thing I have learned while going to Ole Miss is sometimes it is OK to disagree with someone, but be careful how you present your opinions. Social media can make or break how someone sees your political views, and it can either go badly or nothing happens at all. 

Elexis Craft
Elexis Craft

Elexis Craft, 20, is a junior integrated marketing communications major with a minor in business. She enjoys working at MS Critterz and hanging out with friends. She has lived in Orlando the past nine years. 

Craft loves snorkeling in the natural springs outside the Orlando area and visiting beaches that line the Gulf of Mexico when she visits her family in Florida. She loves traveling to Europe and visiting Denmark.

She is well known for participating in pageants. She was also a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. She volunteered throughout the semester with her sorority sisters, participating in the Buddy Walk, which raises money for children with Down Syndrome.

She also participates in the Ole Miss Intramural Soccer League. She goes to the gym and paints. Her favorite place is going to Sardis Lake to watch the sunset over the water. 

Craft’s hobbies include watching nature documentaries with her cat, Oby. She helps raise money for Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in bad home situations. She is a volunteer foster mom for shelter animals at shelters throughout Mississippi.

In high school, she was captain of her soccer team the spring of her senior year at a Christian Academy. She designed and hand made all the wardrobes for her senior class programs. She also took dual enrollment classes during her senior year. For two years, she attended Florida Virtual School. 

This year, she hopes to keep working on her integrated marketing communications degree. She hopes to one day own her own horse farm near Oxford and aspires to work in public relations.

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